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BIOS 242 Pick Your Pathogen Assignment - Fundamentals of Microbiology


Lyme disease is a relentless and formidable threat to the human body, caused by the bacterial spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This infectious disease is exclusively caused by B. burgdorferi in the United States, and it was first discovered in the 1970s in Lyme, Connecticut, by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer. This bacterium’s primary transmission mode is through hard-bodied ticks, specifically the deer tick.

The Pathogen

Borrelia burgdorferi is a spiral-shaped bacterium that belongs to the spirochete family. The virulence and ability to cause Lyme disease. This pathogen can evade the immune system and establish persistent infections in various tissues and organs of the human body. Its spiral shape and flexible body enable it to navigate through tissues and evade detection by the immune cells, allowing it to establish long-term infections.

Virulence Factors, Immunity, Infectious Disease Information, and Clinical Relevance

Borrelia burgdorferi possesses various virulence factors that contribute to its pathogenicity. One crucial factor is its ability to alter the expression of its surface proteins, allowing it to evade immune recognition and clearance. These surface proteins, such as outer surface proteins A and C, enable the bacterium to attach to host cells and avoid immune responses, facilitating survival within the human body.

BIOS 242 Pick Your Pathogen Assignment – Fundamentals of Microbiology

The immune response to Borrelia burgdorferi infection is complex and multifaceted. While the immune system mounts an initial response to combat the disease, the bacterium employs various strategies to evade and suppress the immune response, thereby establishing chronic illness. This immune evasion contributes to the persistence of the bacterium and the development of long-term symptoms in individuals with Lyme disease.

Understanding the infectious disease information related to Lyme disease is crucial for effective diagnosis and management. Early Lyme disease symptoms often include a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, accompanied by flu-like symptoms. However, Lyme disease can progress to more severe manifestations if left untreated, affecting various body systems such as the joints, heart, and nervous system. Recognizing these symptoms and promptly seeking medical attention is essential to prevent long-term complications.


The treatment of Lyme disease primarily involves the administration of antibiotics. The choice of antibiotics and the duration severity of symptoms. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime are commonly prescribed in the early stages. In cases where the infection has progressed or becomes chronic, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary for a longer duration. It is worth noting that early detection and treatment of Lyme disease are crucial for successful outcomes. Delayed diagnosis or inadequate treatment can result in chronic Lyme disease, which can be challenging to manage effectively.

BIOS 242 Pick Your Pathogen Assignment – Fundamentals of Microbiology


Preventing Lyme disease is centered on minimizing exposure to ticks and taking appropriate measures in tick-prone areas. This includes wearing protective clothing, using insect repellents, and conducting thorough tick checks after outdoor activities. Additionally, creating tick-safe environments by maintaining well-trimmed lawns, removing leaf litter, and implementing tick control measures can help reduce the risk of tick bites.


Lyme disease poses a significant health concern due to its aggressive nature and potential long-term complications if not promptly diagnosed and treated. Understanding the pathogen, its virulence factors, and the complexities of the immune response to Borrelia burgdorferi infection is crucial for effective management.

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